In a manner similar to the Kettle Valley Railroad three thousand miles to the west Le Petite Train Du Nord cycling path is the legacy of another now defunct rail line.Begun in the late 1800's as an attempt to open up the area north of Montreal it was the brain child of mainly one man a parish priest named Antoine Labelle.Construction of the line which would eventually connect a great deal of the lower laurentians to Montreal began in 1874 and was not totally completed to Mont Laurier... 145 miles further north... until twenty years later.However the effect of the new rail line on the development of the lower laurentians was not exactly that envisioned by Cure Labelle.His motive for the line was to open up a strong catholic community in the area north of Montreal.And without doubt it certainly did open up the entire region.However most of the growth came from recreational use with an influx of summer cottagers and in the winter hundreds of thousands of skiers. So Le Petite Train Du Nord was well used from its inception until the 1950's when it too was made obsolete by a growing and extensive network of roads and highways.After the last train which ran in 1989 the rails were pulled up and the line was abandoned.
But not for long as once again the cycling community would be the beneficiaries of an abandoned rail line.Like the Phoenix rising from the ashes a considerable amount of government aid and local initiative would see Le Petite Train Du Nord once again become a major part of the recreational history of the laurentians.Reopened in 1996 as a linear park it now draws close to half a million visitors per year along its 120 mile route between St. Jerome and Mont Laurier. It is one of North Americas best cycling paths due mainly because of the handiness of restaurants,quaint B&B's, snack bars and other amenities along its entire route.It is probably one of the best cycling paths available for anyone wanting to break into bicycle touring.

Le Petite Train